The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) supports the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 5263) introduced today by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), along with Representative Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX) to promote organ donation and protect the rights of living donors. The NKF is a longtime leader in organ donation and transplantation in the U.S. and believes that in order to increase the national pool of organ donors, it is critical that living organ donors do not bear any unnecessary burdens or restrictions that would serve as barriers to donation. This bill prohibits insurance companies from denying or limiting life, disability and long term care insurance and from charging higher premiums to living organ donors. The bill also clarifies that living organ donors may use time granted through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to recover from transplant surgery and finally, the bill directs the department of Health and Human Services to add information on these new protections to its materials to encourage more Americans to consider living donation.
The NKF is grateful for Rep. Nadler’s living donation efforts and for Rep. Burgess’s ongoing leadership on transplant initiatives. The NKF has advocated for these protections for years and is hopeful that this bill will increase the rate of living donation in this country and shorten the national transplant waiting list. Graft survival rates for living donor transplants are consistently higher than those of deceased donor transplants and therefore, passing this bill and increasing living donation will positively impact the health of transplant recipients. Increasing living donation also represents an economic cost-savings since fewer patients will need second or third transplants. Living donors are American heroes and the National Kidney Foundation believes they should be celebrated and their actions promoted so more will follow suit and many more lives will be saved. Take action to protect living donors today.